tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC March 27, 2011 10:00am-11:00am EDT
and it's 33 days and counting until the royal weddin toy a tasty new nugget about the couple's cake. good morning, everyone, i'm alex witt and welcome to msnbc sunday. we begin with new news this morning. defense secretary robert gates says he believes the mission in libya has been accomplished but now allies are tasked from keeping gadhafi from coming back into the areas and killing civilians. here's secretary gates on "meet the press." >> i think we have to a very large extent completed the military mission in terms of getting it set up. now the no-fly zone and even the humanitarian side will have to be sustained for some period of time. >> mike vi ca, good morning. >> reporter: good morning. the white house and the administration to a certain extent are playing catchup on the public relations aspect of this. they say, yes, we were behind a little bit when the military action started a week ago yesterday and now they're coming
back at it in terms of convincing the american public after many questions have been raised about the scope and the goals of this mission in libya that this is the right thing to do. we heard president obama say yesterday that a humanitarian crisis would have ensued in l libya, had not the united states acted, and of course the president has the big primetime speech tomorrow in washington from the national defense university. secretary gates was also asked is libya in our vital national interest? surprising answer from gates. no, it isn't. but the middle east is and libya is part of the middle east, echoing the president's remarks just a day earlier. we can expect to hear from that the president as well. there are also two divergent goals here. the security council action and military action supporting it is to relieve the humanitarian crisis, protect civilians on the ground from moammar gadhafi's forces, but the u.s. position is to have moammar gadhafi leave. secretary of state hillary clinton who and on "meet the press" with gates had the following to say on that score.
>> we will provide a very clear messe gaafute' soenng msapear do you really want to end up in the international criminal court? now is your time to get out of this and to help change the direction. >> reporter: so again, alex, the president is here in washington at the white house over the course of this weekend preparing for that address tomorrow 7:30 eastern time here in washington. >> mike viqueira at the white house, we'll see you again. msnbc will have live coverage of the presidential address tomorrow evening 7:30 eerng time. let's go to the situation on the ground where rebel forces are breezing through cities held by gadhafi forces as recently as yesterday. the rebels now hold the oil towns of ras lanuf and are pushing westward, a bit closer to tripoli. let's go live to tripoli and jim maceda. the rebels are not facing too
much resistance today it would seem in the east. however, a different situation in the west? >> reporter: well, that's right. in the west they are -- the main problem in the west is that gadhafi is desperate to take that town of misrata. the only rebel-held town, his forces have been trying to encircle it, squeeze it off, cut off water from the people of misrata for about two or three weeks now. it really intensifies the fight, moving tanks and troops from the west along the coast. that's not far. and then from the east mortar rounds and artillery rounds fired constantly. now, there were -- there were a number of airplanes, nato warplanes that were scrambled. they did not drop -- launch any
air strikes and take out tanks or troops yesterday. simply the sound of the airplanes seemed to have the positive effect on the ground and stop the shelling. but again, it's cat and mouse today. it's a fluid situation. both the rebels and pockets of pro-gadhafi forces are in misrata. so what looks like is happening is that in the east you've got gadhafi now probably trying to buin o consolidate his rule there. misrata is really the only major town that's not in his control. even pulling back troops from places like brega and ajdabiya to continue the fight in misrata. what looks like we're going to have, i may be wrong --
everything to the east of which would be in rebel control, everything to the west of which would be under gadhafi's rule. back to you, alex. >> okay, thank you very much, people have been killed in violence rocking a seaside mediterranean city. the victims include security forces and residents. and this amateur video obtained by the associated press was allegedly shot on friday in which it shows protesters trying to topple a statue of former president haf ecez. in yemen, saleh is warning of a civil war. he is willing to step aside but demonstrators want him out immediately. crews in california are cleaning up after heavy rains and severe flooding. the flooding was also caused by a damaged drainage pipe which sent a three-foot surge of water into one town. a voluntary evacuation was ordered. let's check in with alex wallace for the national forecast. >> good morning to you.
we head to the east coast where we've been dealing with some snow this very early morning out there. in fact some areas here around the d.c. area picking up anywhere from 1, close to 2 inches in some cases. the good news is at least right now the snow is exiting, pressing its way on out into the middle of the atlantic so folks will be able to get out for the cherry blossom festival for the rest of the afternoon. farther south, a little different story. we've got strong storms in place right along this frontal boundary draped across the area. slowly sagging its way southbound. again, the big storms are out there. south of atlanta at this time, big storms with heavy downpours all the way back towards parts of alabama and mississippi. these storms capable of producing heavy downpours, hail, damaging winds and we'll watch for the risk of isolated tornados as well. so another active day for us. saturday we saw wig storms. today we could see more activity moving through the area. we're watching these storms moving on through towards the south and the east. the gulf coast will be getting in on the act as well.
into north florida, jacksonville seeing big storms. meanwhile we dry out briefly before more showers move on in as we head into monday morning. >> okay, alex lle, tnk you foth fm e at chne amntiohe te fusma perlain japan. operators at the plant first said radiation levels in water at one of the units was 10 million times higher than normal but now they say the huge spike in radiation levels was a mistake. let's go live to tokyo, nbc's lee cowan standing by for us. any updates in terms of what you're hearing about this, the discrepancy, have they figured out what the problem was or if 10 million times higher was incorrect? >> reporter: well, since we last talked, they have -- tepco has officially apologized for making that mistake. they say they will go back in and test that water to see what the accurate level is. they say it is still high, just not 10 million times higher than
normal is what they're saying. they revealed today that they found pools like the one that those workers stepped in a couple of days ago that sent two of them to the hospital, they found similar pools in basically reactors 1, 2 and 3 and all of them have higher than normal radiation levels which makes getting in there that much more difficult. they can't go in and spend a good deal of time in there because of the radiation. and as such, they can't figure out where this leak is coming from. they know that it's coming from some point in the reactor. either from the reactor itself, although they doubt that. i think it's either in some pools underneath the reactor itself, or perhaps all the pipes that circle the reactor itself. they can't figure out exactly where the leaks are until they can get in and they can't get in until after the water is pumped out so that's the priority right now is getting the water out. the other thing they did mention is that the radioactive level in the sea waur, we talked about this yesterday, it was up on friday, it was up on saturday,
it's up yet again, now 1800 times what it is supposed to be normally. scientists still say that's not a threat to human health at this point but clearly a concern because it keeps inching up and up and up. >> may i ask you about a before and after which really does pose a picture that gives some hope for people out there. it's of a road completely damaged in the quake that we're going to show our viewers and incredibly repaired just seven days after. look at that. i mean things look pretty great like there. that's what it did look like. is this the determination of the japanese people? it's hard tofast. >> reporter: you know, that one image that you're talking about is pretty remarkable. but we saw fixes in the roads just a day or two after the quake. we got here on saturday, all the days are running together at this point, saturday or sunday, and there are already people out not only clearing the road but
making repairs. not quite as dramatic as the picture you were showing but they were right at it right away. obviously up in the north it's a completely different situation. it's so devastated that that is going to take a significant amount of time. but that said, they were out clearing at least the roadways so that crews could get in and out of the debris fields. they weren't necessarily clearing anything out, but they were just getting the roads cleared so people could get in. clearing it of the mud, clearing it of the debris and that allowed some of the search and rescue crews to come in and the families to go in and look at what they could salvaget things running again as best they can, but still a long, long fight up in the north. it's snowing, it's cold, it's raining, it's desperate to say the least. >> it is indeed. all right, lee cowan in tokyo, thank you, lee. to politics now and the 2012 presidential churn. michele bachmann is appealing to
voters. she fired up the crowd at yesterday's conservative conference in des moines. with economic issues dominating the headlines, bachman says voters, not the government, have the solutions. >> no stimulus, no entitlement reform, no health care initiative, no educational revamp can match the power of an intact two-parent family and driving economic growth, health and well-being in the united states. >> newt gingrich and governor haley barbour were among the other candidates to speak at the event. iowa a crucial stopping ground on the road to the white house. a key witness in the amanda knox case stumbles on the stand. the computer glitch that stranded thousands of air travelers this weekend. plus sweet new details about the royal detail. we've got a live report from london coming up right here on msnbc sunday. [ man ] ♪ trouble
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right now in libya, the u.s. is part of the coalition attacking gadhafi's forces, but back in january the u.s. government was reaching out to the dictator's youngest son. the "washington post" reports the state department helped organize a trip for the 27-year-old to visit the u.s. the government did not host his visit but helped an american company set up an internship for him and even organized sight seeing tours. a national security reporter for the "washington post." didn't sunday morning to you. what a difference a month or two makes, right? this was an attempt by the state department to what, give him some american influence, have him like us? >> yeah. this is a guy who two months ago looked like a future leader of libya. but two months later not so
much. >> so what did he do while he was here? >> he had a pretty good time. he was all over the country. he went to board rooms of some of the biggest corporations. he was in texas looking at oil companies in, california looking at technology firms. he was at universal studios. he got a tour of the air force academy in colorado. he was on his way to west point to see the military academy when he got called back to go to his home country to take care of business over there. >> i'm curious, why target khamis, most intelligent, most american friendly? is there a reason why they reached out to him and was there any gauging his reaction of being in the united states? >> it was a matter of the libyans coming to us. the company they contacted has billions of dollars worth of contracts with libya to rebuild infrastructure and so they approached this company and said here's this guy that we just want to show the ropes and have him get to know the capitalist system and understand american leaders. so american companies wanted to do business with libya so they said, sure, why not. so they set up this elaborate
month-long visit to take him around the country and show him off. >> do we know if he liked it? he had been touted as this student and business leader. >> he seemed to have a good time, saw a lot of things. he was very quiet, very studious, asked a lot of questions, took a lot of notes and was like a typical mba student. kind of nerdy, brainy and fairly low key. >> yet now he's there in charge of the libya 32nd reinforce brigade. >> turns out he wasn't so typical after all. he had a day job whichncluded running this vebralpia rc bige atasn srf ecckwngast they brought in mercenaries, involved in shooting and killing rebels and civilians, so we had a nasty streak people didn't anticipate at the time. >> okay. joby warrick, thank you. there are new questions being raised about eyewitness testimony and police evidence in the trial of amanda knox. she is fighting to overturn her
2009 murder conviction in an italian court. defense attorneys say the prosecution's case against her is far from solid. keith miller is live on the very latest on the proceedings. keith, another good day to you. what is the latest? >> reporter: well, alex, in fact the amanda knox defense team do not want to appear overconfident, but after saturday's court session, there is renewed hope that they can overturn knox's conviction for murder. she appeared anxious as she entered the courtroom. family members say the appeal of her murder conviction is taking a toll on the college student from washington. her step dad and sister, deanna, were in court to offer support. >> i just saw her yesterday. she's really g she was really happy when i went there today and really confident, so it was good to see that side of her. >> reporter: but her defense team got a boost from saturday's court session when the key witness for the prosecution appeared unreliable. antonio, described as homeless, admitted on the stand he is
actually living in prison on drug charges. he stood by his story that he saw knox and her former boyfriend near the scene of the murder at the time knox's roommate, an exchange student from england, was murdered and brutally sexually assaulted. but he got his dates wrong, saying he saw students dressed in costumes, which was halloween, the night before the murder. the judge asked if he had been on drugs when he allegedly saw knox, and the witness admitted he was a heroin addict, but at the time was not hallucinating. it appeared to be a win for the defense. >> i feel sorry for him, you know, the poor guy. i feel as though he's almost being used. he was just a mess. >> reporter: not revealed in court is the fact the witness has appeared in three trials as an eyewitness to major crimes. according to italian press reports, the independent forensic experts are coming up empty on identifying dna on the
alleged murder weapon. they reportedly called the samples taken from a knife too slight to examine. and a fingerprint on a bloody bra clasp too damaged to evaluate. their report will be delivered in court in mid-may. judicial sources here describe the dna report as nothing less than dramatic, but we won't have the details of what's in the report until the next court hearing, which won't be until may, alex. >> all right, keith miller with the latest. thank you, keith. the president and his planned address to the american public tomorrow about the military action in libya. is his message coming a little too late or right on time? wate, we take our showers with it. we make our coffee with it. but we rarely tap its true potential and just let it be itself. flowing freely into clean lakes, clear streams and along more fresh water coast line than any other state in the country.
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affected by the problem. counting down to the royal wedding. now only 33 days away, and we are learning more details about the big day for william and kate. we have more from london. >> reporter: just 33 days to go and the royal couple are drip feeding us details of the wedding. now it's the cake and not just one, but two cakes for william and kate's big day. it's the cake of choice for traditionalists, a multi-tiered fruitcake with cream and white icing made by a british designer using british ingredients. >> quite traditional, but with a modern twist really. >> reporter: kate wants lots of flowers in the icing, 16 in total, including a thistle for scottland, the irish shamrock, the welsh daffodil and the english rose. they're not stopping at one, they're going to have two. for the reception, william has
asked for a favorite cake, a secret royal recipe made with rich tea biscuits and dark chocolate and it's set in the freezer rather than baked in an oven. 1700 biscuits and nearly 40 pounds of chocolate will be used. their choice summing them up well. just over a month to go, the countdown begins. smartphone wedding-related apps are flooding the market. kate and william's generation are techno savvy, twitter friendly and impossible to control. the palace's response, if you can't beat them, join them. the official royal wedding website, a one-stop shop for all things kate and will related. millions of loyal fans have logged in. twitter will bring in more. the wedding may even be streamed online, and the ceremony will be available to buy on itunes. so a hipper buckingham palace, or less about being in touch and more about being in control. >> there is always an internal
requirement desire to control the news, to control the information, to control what we know about them. >> reporter: it's a completely different era to that last big wedding 30 years ago. but as with charles and diana, say experts, come the big day there will be no escape from the pomp and ceremony. >> they're saying that this wedding will be much more the people's wedding. i kind of doubt it, really. there are far too many aspects of it which are, and rightly so, traditional, old-fashioned, deliberately. that's what people like. >> reporter: what these royals seem to like, though, is marrying tradition with modern life. kate and william are not going to be left behind. they're very much 21st century royals. back to you. >> certainly are. thank you so much. the big changes coming to your post office. what it means for your mail next on "msnbc sunday." have been going up, but you can still refinance to a fixed rate as low as 4.75% at lendingtree.com.
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mission partly accomplished. defense secretary robert gates says the u.s.-led effort to enforce a no-fly zone in libya has rendered moammar gadhafi's forces defenseless. in an appearance on "meet the press" secretary of state hillary clinton defended the military action. >> this was an international effort that the united states was a part of. i certainly believe it was within the president's constitutional authority to do so. it is going according to the plan that the president laid out. the united states will be transitioning to a nato command and control. and then we will be joining with the rest of the international community. and if you look at the region, can you imagine, david, if we were sitting here and gadhafi had gotten to benghazi. in a city of 700,000 people had massacred tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands had fled over the border destabilizing egypt, everybody would be saying why didn't the president do something. these are difficult choices. >> you can watch david gregory's
entire interview when "meet the press" reairs here at 2:00 p.m. 12 people have been killed in a new round of violence resi were killed. ron allen is live for us in amman, jordan, staying on top of the growing unrest spreading throughout the middle east. another good day to you. what is the latest from there? >> reporter: well, we're hearing from syria that the president, bashar al assad is about to address the nation. that could be soon, that could be in a matter of hours but we think it's sooner rather than later because we've been hearing this for a while now. we have not heard from him at all since this crisis started unfolding. dozens of people are probably dead as a result of this whole confrontation between protesters in numerous cities around syria and security forces. security forces who allegedly have been firing live ammunition. this is the kind of protesting that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago in that country, one of the most
repressive in the arab world. and what we're hearing is also remarkable. we're hearing that assad may announce the lifting of the state of emergency that's been in place in that country for nearly 50 years since the president was his father in a coup. 50 years of emergency rule. if he does that, what would it really mean? basically he would have to release a lot of political prisoners. they'd have to basically start -- only be able to arrest people when there are charges, some rule of law. it's almost unimaginable how fundamentally the society would have to change if it were to exist not with a state of emergency. but it would be a profound step forward if he said it andment it. of course diplomats around the world will be trying to parse through his words and see if that actually happens. but the bottom line is syria has now been plunged into chaos that just is sweeping throughout the country. this morning there are more reports of clashes and confrontations in different cities. as i said, there are perhaps dozens of people who have been killed. human rights activists have been
trying to get a count. it's a closed society. it's impossible for most foreigners to get in there so it's very difficult to know what's really going on. but that the president is about to speak to the nation, we believe, underscores just how significant and serious things are there. alex. >> ron, i know that you're going to be monitoring that. if and when he takes to the air waves in some fashion, you'll bring us the very latest. mixed messages from japan this morning over radiation levels at the crippled fukushima power plant. earlier today officials said the radioactivity in water of the unit 2 reactor was, get this, 10 million times higher than normal, and that certain ly forced workers to evacuate. but now operators at the plant say those high readings were a mistake. workers are trying to figure out how to remove and store that radioactive water that's pooling in four of the units at the plant. as the nuclear crisis unfolds in japan, the focus is growing on nuclear power plants here in the u.s. and how safe they are. joining me live is a former commissioner with the nuclear rec la tore commission. jeff, good morning. >> good morning, alex. >> i understand that you toured
the fukushima plant before the quake and tsunami. tell me what you thought when you looked at that? damage situation? >> no. in fact when you actually go through the japanese nuclear power plants, they are very well maintained from a physical appearance standpoint. very clean, a lot of attention given to it. i don't think i had any understanding at that point that the significance of the tsunami would occur and we'd have what we see here today. >> okay. let's look at what's happening in the u.s. with our 104 nuclear power plants. the "wall street journal" points out the indian point plant in new york could be vulnerable to an earthquake because it sits just south of the intersection of two fault lines, a notable one there. it's also only 40 miles from new york city. and it is old. how safe is it? >> well, any nuclear power plant is safe. the nuclear regulatory commission does impose specific
requirements on the plant being able to withstand earthquakes that are historic to the area in which the plant is located. and then puts additional margin on that to make sure that that determination is conservative. the nuclear regulatory commission has indicated they're going to look again at those standards and make sure if some additional requirements may need to be placed. but that plant is well maintained. there are stringent requirements on it. it has been considerably updated since it was first built. >> so you basically don't have any concerns about radiation leaking should there be some significant earthquake in the area? >> well, my view is that the plant has been built to withstand the standards of earthquakes that could be expected in that area. one of the things you have to think about with earthquakes isn't just merely the magnitude, it's the ground motion. how much does the ground go back and forth. i think the standards the nrc has used is conservative and are appropriate for that plant, but
they are going to look, and i think we all should obviously take advantage of what we're learning from japan, make sure and validate those standards are correct. the nrc has indicated they are going to be conducting a comprehensive review. indian point will be the top priority plant to conduct that. they will put additional requirements on if necessary. >> what about -- look at what germany has done. it's phasing out all of the nuclear power plants in the wake of the incident on march 11th. big picture here in the u.s. could the u.s. survive and provide enough energy without nuclear power down the road? >> well, i think there's two things there. first, nuclear power in germany has been a political issue for 20 years, so it's not entirely surprising that they would make a quick reaction like this and do that. i don't think it's prudent for germany to do that, but that's what they're doing. here in the united states, 20% of our power comes from nuclear arbon free and is an important source of reliable power for our country. we need to make a look at how that power is being produced,
validate that the requirements are appropriate, but i think the nuclear regulatory commission is going to take a very measured approach, which is appropriate. when i was a commissioner during 9/11, that's what we did relative to the plants at that point and i think that's the same philosophy we should be using relative to the events coming out of japan. >> okay, jeff merrifield we'll speak with you next hour with a few more questions. thank you so much. msnbc is the place for politics and it's a big week ahead for president obama domestically as well in the eyes of the world. he'll deliver a major speech tomorrow on the u.s. role in libya. he's also sending his top diplomatic and events advisers to capitol hill in an effort to smooth over criticism about that military intervention. robert trainham hosts "roll call tv" and is the d.c. bureau chief for the comcast network and karen finny is a former communications director for the dnc. welcome back to you, karen, and good morning to you, robert. >> good morning. >> i'll let you start, robert, with this question. the president delivers the speech to the nation tomorrow. talk about the timing here.
might you have preferred to hear a bit from the president, a national address like this, earlier? >> yes, i probably would have -- if i was the president or his adviser, which i'm not obviously, i would have advised the president to probably have addressed the nation thursday or friday night. here's why, alex. it's because any time the commander in chief puts someone in harm's way, one of our men or women who wear our uniform, they owe it to the american people, they owe it to the congress to be able to articulate and connect those dots as to why they're putting someone in harm's way. it is in our military interests, it is in our humanitarian interests. whatever the case may be, the president needs to articulate that. so i'm very thankful that he's going to address the nation on monday night. but to answer your question specifically, i think he should have done it on thursday or friday of last week. >> karen, house speaker john boehner wants specifics, wants those details from the president. some democrats in congress would agree to that. listen to what representative rob andrews told me yesterday. >> correctly, the administration went to the u.n. security
council and engaged in discussions there. why weren't those same discussions taking place with the u.s. congress simultaneous with the u.n. discussions. in other words, there was time to go to the u.n., why wasn't there time to go to the u.s. congress? that's a question a lot of us are asking. >> so what do you make of that question, karen? >> yeah. well, i know what robert is going to say so let me just say it. it is true that the president could have and probably should have made more of an effort to reach out to the leadership of both houses early are on in the process, perhaps even last saturday as the maneuvers were beginning. there obviously are politics involved in the criticisms that we're hearing from members of congress. they have got their own constituents that they have to be accountable to. but in light of those politics, i think the president probably could have reached out a little sooner, but, look, i think it's very important that he's giving the speech tomorrow night. i thinhe doesn't have to tell gt
we're going to do because why would we want to tell gadhafi our strategy. but the big idea is to give the libyan people a chance for freedom. >> robert, if the mission is completed, let's say just in a matter of weeks, is all the criticism going to go away then? >> sort of. look, if the mission is completed, thank god it was completed. but members of congress on both sides of the aisle, they have a legitimate point. hey, mr. president, pick up the phone and just let us know what's happening. >> but that's not as easy -- but that's not as easy to do -- it's not as easy in this political climate as maybe it once was. >> karen, i disagree with you. look, the president of the united states, the institution of that office demands dignified and respect. so what i mean by that is if in fact the president picks up the phone and says i want to have a conference call with y and let you know what i'm thinking. i haven't made a final decision yet but i want to consult you which the constitution obviously dictates, the president needs to do whether, no matter who the president is, republican or democrat. you know that. >> no, i think he should be able to do that, but i think when
we're dealing both houses of congress a member of congress calls him a liar, you know, it is a very different dynamic. i think that is a shameful statement frankly for everyone because i do think the president should have been able to pick up the phone and have that conversation, and let's hope going forward that we can get to some common ground. >> karen, i want to go forward with you and look down the road. what does all of this mean for the other countries that are seeing unrest in the region? has this set a precedent that the u.s. will have to answer to in the future? >> you know, i don't think we know that yet. there are two kind of perspectives here that i think we need to keep in mind. number one, the broader context of what's happening in the middle east where we are seeing people rise up and fight for their freedom. you know, their ability to have a job and care for their families. specifically in libya, moammar gadhafi is a fairly -- it's one thing -- there's one article that said pretty much everybodies unified in how much
they dislike this guy so there is a unique set of circumstances in libya, particularly because of the kind of violence that he was willing to engage on his own people, even a step beyond what we're seeing in some of the protests in the other countries. that being said, i think we don't yet know the answer to that question, alex, because i think we'll have to see what unfolds in some of these other countries. it may be that the conditions are set where once again you have u.n., nato and the arab league coming to the united states and saying we've got to get together and do something. >> you know what, given that i saw robert nodding in agreement on the two shot, we're just going to leave it there and hope for the best between the two of you, who are friends. robert trainham, karen finny, thanks so much. is there hope on the horizon for the economy? we're taking a look at promising signs in our next hour. also why there might b me mmavailable in the coming months. you're watching "msnbc sunday."
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new homes. they are making solar arrays standard equipment on more than 800 homes in ten southern california communities. the company says the panels will provide about 30% of the home's total electrical needs. walmart adding new vending machines to some stores but they're not serving up soda. 24 walmarts in pennsylvania will set self-serve weinine kiosks. in california's wine country, entrepreneurs are buying up wineries and turning them into theme parks for grownups. they are offering experiences from car memorabilia to rock concerts and will also include wine tasting. about seven million people visit northern california wineries each year. to many she was the last in a long line of hollywood legends. to others she was a tabloid fixture known for her many marriages and a jaw-dropping diamond collection. either way, actress elizabeth taylor was an icon who remains beloved by millions. she was also worth millions. now that she's gone, questions
are being raised over who will inherit her astounding fortune. joining me to talk about her legacy and the inheritance she leaves behind is ramin. good to see you. i want to talk, first of all, about the money. we've been hearing about her net worth. do you know what it is and who stands to gain from this? >> she actually made a lot of money, who knew. between $600 million to $1 billion is the numbers, the figures that are floating around. and it looks like she's donating a good chunk of that, the reports are, to aids and to charity. >> okay. let's face it, when she was a glamorous movie star, the salaries were not anywhere in line with what they make today, so she had to be an extraordinary businessman. >> she was a very smart businesswoman. she was the birs actress to make a million dollars for doing a movie, and it wasn't that much but she was very smart in branding herself in, selling her jewelry line and in also establishing her perfume line, which became a big hit.
i also read she played the stock market. >> so she has four children, if i'm not mistaken. one adopted child and three others. is the money going to go to the kids, that that she doesn't leave to charities? >> the will hasn't been read yet. there's tabloid reports that the kids may have been left out. i don't really believe that. i think until next week or the week after we're not going to know but i'm sure she's taking care of them as well. >> so she had her aids devotion, and then white diamonds, you mentioned her fragrance. it earned $77 million in sales in 2010. it's not as if she was out there promoting this, especially since her health wasn't great. >> there was a new fragrance which came out last year, but she was so i conconic that wen wanted to smell like liz taylor.
now everyone has followed in eir footsteps and have fragrances as well. >> let's face it, she had a lot of husbands. of those that remain living, the last one was larry fortensky. >> i doubt she'll leave money to him. she'll probably leave money -- all the reports are saying most of the money will go to aids research. >> what about the rumors out there about some sort of a diary, some handwritten diary that she kept? >> i read about that. during her life they asked her if she would write her memoirs and she said she's still living her memoirs. so there is a report that there is a diary and it could be published. you know, i don't -- we'll have to wait and see. elizabeth taylor always -- there's always so much gossip and rumors surrounding her, we never know what is true until it actually happens. >> she's one of those that if it's possible to conceive of, she will become larger in her legend in death. >> just like michael jackson. >> near whom she's buried right? >> yes in, california.
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what's next at the post office? well, last week the postal service announced it was hiring 7500 managers and closing seven district offices, but up to 2,000 post office branches could be closed down in the next year. and saturday mail delivery could be scrapped altogether. "washington post" reporter lisa ryan joins me to talk about this. good morning, lisa. >> good morning. >> i understand the recent job cuts won't be affecting the mail carriers, but this could still affect the jobs that affect mail delivery, right? >> right. the post office is this iconice. it's losing about -- it's on track to lose $6 billion a year
this year because people just aren't using the mail in the way they were. the postal service is trying to contract. some of this will be done through attrition and the 7500 jobs that they announced changes to this week will involve a combination of buyouts as well as layoffs of postal -- postmasters. >> lisa, how about upping the price of the stamps significantly, or do they worry if they do that, that even further puts the use of the post office in decline? >> right. they're limited -- the postal service is limited by congress and by regulators in how much it can actually raise the price of stamps. they realize that they can't -- they can't do that excessively. so what they're trying to do is cut down on their labor costs, which constitute about 70 to 80% of their costs. that's why they're trying to gradually shrink the workforce and close post offices that aren't really used that much.
>> okay. and what about the prospect of cutting saturday service, would that save a pretty penny or not? >> that would save a lot of money. the postal service proposed this about a year and a half ago but congress would need to approve it. and it really has been dead on rival in congress. what they want to do is go to ve-day seice. i inth cld ve, i think, estimated $500 million a year. the regulators who offer -- have offered a recommendation this week that essentially said if you cut saturday service, you're going to have a lot of the mail delayed not just by one day, but by two days. and i think the postal service really wants to cut saturday service, but politically it's a very, very hard sell to the american public and congress. >> okay. lisa ryan, thank you, lisa. >> you're welcome. how presidents handle the decision to go to war and how they sell that idea to the rest of the country coming up next on "msnbc sunday."
brendon and john were beach volleyball players who turned their passion into a year-round activity. they created the sand box in mystic, connecticut, the only indoor volleyball facility in new england. they're attracting players from around the region to this unique concept. for more, watch "your business" sunday mornings at 7:30 on msnbc.
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